Sixteen years ago, in a sweaty, awkward, hormone-filled middle school gym class, I met my husband. Fast forward six years later and we had become friends, went to our high school prom together, then almost immediately went our separate ways to college. Great timing, we know. After countless miles on the New Jersey Turnpike and ten years of dating my best buddy (what’s the rush?), we got married on May 15, 2010.
Ranole and I had a long engagement and plenty of time to think about what type of wedding we wanted. After numerous appointments at the standard indoor wedding venues, we nearly settled on one just so we wouldn’t have to endure any more sales pitches and to spare our eyes from more dated wallpaper hallways. This was clearly not our most ambitious moment. Thankfully, we took a drive out to Alba Vineyard in Milford, NJ (that’s right, New Jersey has vineyards) and immediately we could picture our wedding day. The vineyard was free from the constraints of an indoor event and we knew it would be beautiful…as long as the weather cooperated!
My discovery of Etsy happily coincided with our engagement and the purchase of our home, so I had plenty to shop for. I was introduced to Etsy through a friend of a friend and Etsy seller Amanda Gilbert of UntamedPetals. My first Etsy purchase was from Amanda’s shop — it was a set of bright yellow chiffon and delicate cream silk flowers on bobby pins, which I gave to my best friend and sister-in-law when I asked them to be in my wedding party. This was the jumping-off point to our black, cream and bright yellow color palette. I knew that I wanted another bridesmaid’s accessory that reflected their individual style while fitting with the wedding theme. I didn’t have to look far to find a multitude of purse options that came in a variety of prints. I chose two different styles — one classic, by Upstyle, and the other a modern print by red ruby rose. I also made a bracelet and necklace for my two bridesmaids.
Our reception would be under a tent on the beautiful sprawling lawn, with a backdrop of grape-filled vines, vibrant trees in the distance, and hopefully a clear blue sky. I wanted to find something to fill the interior of the tent so I looked for paper lantern decorations and found Party Poms, a cross between paper lanterns and flowers.
The next item on the list was something other than a pillow for our ring bearer — my nephew Andrew — to carry down the aisle. The requirements: something unique, functional, and personalized — and Etsy did not disappoint. I stumbled upon Paloma’s Nest and purchased a custom ring bowl engraved with our names and wedding date; it still holds my rings every night on my dresser.
My accessories for the big day were no exception to my Etsy-sourced finds. My dress was a simple design — no lace, no tulle, no sequins — just layers of netting, a dupioni silk sash and a pointed sweetheart neckline. It needed something extraordinary to bring it up a notch. I went back to Amanda, my friend from Untamed Petals, and found a flower which was originally designed as a hair accessory, but requested to make it into a brooch. It was a great eclectic mix of silk chiffon, organza, lace, feathers and pearls — it was perfect. For my hair I went with a gold leaf headband by Live In Style, chosen for its distinct look and subtle appeal. Since the reception would cross over into the evening hours the handmade shrug from Sweet Knitting was another great find.
Since all of our guests would be using Alba Vineyard engraved glasses we wanted something unique for ourselves. At the last minute I found beautiful engraved champagne flutes by Day Dreem Designs, which became our bride and groom toasting glasses. For even more Etsy-sourced items, I purchased lemon topaz earrings from a recently married couple, a.k.a. WoodstockNYC; exchanged emails with Sharyn of Sissy’s Art about the bouquet charms that would hold photos of my late grandparents; and chatted on the phone with Stephanie from StephicMc Designs about monogrammed silver discs that we used as wine glass charms. One of the unique side effects of shopping on Etsy is how you meet people along the way. You buy, sell, provide feedback, and convo with complete strangers — and somewhere in between — exchange stories and life experiences.
In the end, the gamble on the weather paid off at our wedding — it was a gorgeous sunny day. However, preparing for our big day with Etsy was a sure bet all along!
About the author: Lisa lives in New Jersey with her husband and their wild animal — a beagle/dachshund mix named Indy. She’s been hooked on Etsy for a solid two years with no sign of letting up. Lisa loves to create unique jewelry and work on custom orders through her shop, LJSanborn. She was married in May and purchased almost all her wedding accessories and reception decor right here on Etsy.
Have you planned a wedding recently? Tell us about your handmade touches in the comments below.